Bullpen shakes off trade rumors, shuts down A's

Anderson earns victory as relievers combine for 3 2/3 scoreless innings

Bullpen shakes off trade rumors, shuts down A's

CLEVELAND -- Indians closer Cody Allen turned and watched the baseball soar into the Cleveland night sky. The ball kept carrying, and it became unclear where the landing destination would be.

At last, Josh Reddick's deep fly ball dropped safely into the glove of center fielder Tyler Naquin -- just shy of the wall -- for the final out in the Tribe's 5-3 win over the Athletics on Friday.

"I think Naquin was probably the only guy in Cleveland that knew that ball wasn't going to quite get out," Allen said. "It was a little nerve-racking, but those things happen."

In the end, it was recorded as just another out, one of 11 that the Indians' bullpen notched in the series opener. With chatter buzzing about the team adding to the bullpen at Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, it would be easy for the current relief corps to seem distracted.

But despite the rumors, the 'pen was able to come through at Progressive Field and the Indians came from behind with a four-run seventh inning.

Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer surrendered back-to-back jacks to open the sixth frame, then exited three batters later. With a pair of runners on and one out, right-hander Dan Otero came on and retired the next two batters, keeping the deficit at three runs.

"Otero's been so valuable to us all year," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought Trevor was throwing the ball well. He had the unearned run early, and then he had the back-to-back home runs. I was trying to stay with him, but after that you got walk, hit and he's up over 100 [pitches]. It seemed like we better try to hold it right there."

Converted starter Cody Anderson entered the fray in the seventh. The right-hander worked around a leadoff walk to pitch an otherwise clean frame. With Cleveland scoring four in the bottom half, Anderson's efforts notched a win, his first career victory as a reliever.

Anderson navigates the 7th

Anderson struggled to keep the ball in the yard when he was in the rotation, causing his transition to the bullpen. He has posted a 3.18 ERA in three career relief appearances.

After Bryan Shaw worked a spotless eighth, Allen entered to finish the job in the ninth. The closer faced the most trouble, allowing consecutive one-out singles before sealing his 20th save of the season.

"Guys did an unbelievable job," Allen said. "Pretty much kept the traffic to a minimum until the ninth. That's how you win ballgames. We scored late, which was good to see life like that."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.